The African Law Service brings diverse commentary on legal developments from across our African continent.
The problem with the requirement of the capacity to conduct oneself in accordance with an appreciation of wrongfulness is to know what this is and what it is not. In particular, how our law does or may distinguish it from the requirement of voluntariness is exceedingly unclear.
Read the Mallya judgment
Read the Goa judgment
The case of Benedicto Mallya tells a story that will distress anyone with a human rights conscience.
Even if Mallya had not ultimately been exonerated, his case would still be a poor reflection on the legal system of his home country, Tanzania.
At the time of sentence he was just 15. Nothing in the judgment of the African Court indicates that he was treated any differently from an adult accused by the Tanzanian justice system.
Questions of responsibility have manifested most directly under the requirement of capacity, but also under the closely associated requirement of voluntariness. The discussion that follows will therefore focus on the requirements of capacity and voluntariness.